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2017 Welcome to our Blog!

In our ongoing attempts to keep up with technology we have added various social media. This will help to keep you informed about our health services and the latest events at the our clinic, excited about your health choices, and updated on health matters relevent to you.

On our Facebook Page we will post links to pertinent articles and news clips important to making good decisions about your health, entertaining videos that will inspire us towards wellness, and educated opinions on various current health events. By “liking” us on Facebook, you will stay updated and be alerted to the latest information! So please click on the Facebook Tab on the right column of this blog and please tell your friends!

Many of you are receiving our regular email newsletters which contains some of our available massage therapy appointments for the coming week by our fantastic Registered Massage Therapists. However, these appointments times can change quickly and at times, others can come available. We all live busy lives and it can be challenging to know our exact schedules. If you sign up for our LAST MINUTE MASSAGE CLUB by sending a request to our front office, we can TEXT you when your preferred times come available so you can decide if you want that particular appointment!

Lastly, our WEBSITE has been updated and we have a new look! This is our main resource for education as we have detailed information on the services offered at our clinic, treatment options and the various tests and techniques available to you. You can also book an appointment online!

As always, please feel welcome to contact us with any questions or information or topics that you would like to discuss. It is our passion to keep you informed on the latest health trends and choices available to you! Foremost, we want you to live a healthy passionate life!

~ Dr. Gertz, Pacific Chiropractic and Massage Therapy

Need an Attitude Adjustment?

It has been said the upwards of 90% of communication between human beings are what we call “non verbal” communication. That is, our facial expressions, eye position, movements and importantly our posture. These are called non verbal “cues”. Subconsciously, we “read” others and form opinions, judgments, and make decisions subconsciously based on these non verbal cues whether we realize it or not. Likewise, our non verbal “cues” also govern how people think and feel about US! It works both ways. One of the most important non verbal cues is your posture. Human beings predictably exhibit posture that mirrors how we are feeling or what we are thinking internally.

What kind of postural “cues” do we exhibit? We can change our chin position – upward or looking to the floor; head forward and strained or upright and tall; the height of our shoulders – whether we are collapsed and slouched inward or  chest outward with a full breath; arms crossed in front of us or open with our palms facing outward; our feet positioning – facing forward or to the side; whether we are standing tall or slouched. There are literally dozens of possible variations or postural “cues” incorporating the posture of many of our body parts that others read subconsciously.

The interesting question, that social psychologist, professor and researcher at Harvard Business School Amy Cuddy discusses in her Ted Talk, is whether non verbal cues can also govern how we think and feel about OURSELVES? The answer is yes. By simply changing your posture, and other non verbal cues such as our facial expression, we can essentially change not only how others perceive and judge us but also our own attitudes about ourselves as well.

Our bodies can change our minds. Our minds then can change our behaviour. And our behaviour can change our outcomes.

For example, research conducted by Cuddy shows that simply by adopting a posture that exemplifies “power”, can increase your testosterone levels by as much as 20% and lower your cortisol levels by as much as 25%.  Adopting a “poor” posture can lower your testosterone levels by as much as 10% and increase your cortisol levels by as much as much as 15%.  Why is this important? Higher testosterone levels are a key marker of good health, and is associated with feelings of positivity, confidence and success. Higher cortisol levels are an indicator of stress, negative feelings and overall poorer health.

Yes! Your posture can actually change not only your own emotions but also your actual physiology.

Everyday my patients hear me harping about how important their posture is and the various ways it can impact their overall health. It’s always an ongoing battle to try to maintain or even improve our posture, when the nature of our work –  sitting in front of a computer all day creates just the opposite – poor posture.  Poor posture is a slippery slope as our bodies slowly adapt, joints stiffen and become misaligned, our muscles and ligaments become less flexible. Fortunately, there effective ways of correcting these changes such as with regular chiropractic care and maintenance of your flexibility through a consistent stretching routine or yoga.

If you feel that you are in need of an attitude shift, and some improvements to your postural outlook on life, schedule a chiropractic check up appointment. We will assess your current posture and let you know what needs to be done to safely and effective improve your posture.

~Dr. G

Airplane Yoga!

It’s the time of year when many of us (myself included) frantically search the internet for last minute web travel specials to escape the Vancouver monsoon season in favour of palm trees and vitamin D! It’s no secret that travel is stressful and airplane seats are tiny. Though you can’t do much when you’re squashed into the middle seat, here’s a few little Yoga stretches that can help relieve your cramped muscles and reduce your stress without getting into your neighbor’s personal space:

AIRPLANE YOGA STRETCHES!

1. Neck Rolls

After you get settled into your seat, take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then start with a simple neck roll. These are great because so much tension is stored in the neck and you don’t need much room to do them. First let your chin drop towards your chest. Try to relax and let the head hang heavy. Begin to circle your head to the right side, then back, then to the left side. Continue slowly circling for five rotations and then switch directions and circle the other way five times.

2. Eagle Arms

Next, you can do the arm twist from eagle pose. This gives you a nice Yoga stretch across your upper back and shoulders. Bring your arms out in front of you and wrap the right upper arm underneath the left one. Bring your palms to touch and raise the upper arms while lowering your shoulders. Take five breaths before releasing and wrapping the left arm under the right.

3. Shoulder Stretch

Next, scoot up to the edge of your seat. Clasp your hands behind your back and straighten your arms as much as you can behind you. You can also let your head drop forward. This stretches the front of the shoulders.

4. Cow Pose

From here, take yourself into to a little cat-cow stretch. First, the cow. On an inhale, arch the back and look up toward the ceiling.

5. Cat Pose

On the exhale, round the spine and let your head drop forward. Repeat the cat-cow movements on each inhale and exhale for five breaths. Now relax and enjoy the rest of your flight. If you are feeling tense, try practicing some breathing exercises to calm the central nervous system. Order some water or juice from the drinks cart to keep yourself hydrated and repeat your stretches as necessary.

6. Seated Pelvic Tilts 

 It is easier to do if you have your seat in the upright position. Sit with your back against the back of the seat. Feel the natural curve in the lower back. Place your feet flat on the floor at a hip’s width distance. Place your hands on your belly button. Tilt your pelvis back and draw in your abs. Feel the muscles under your palms contract as your lower back is pushed flat against the seat. Hold for three to 10 seconds. Repeat five to 10 times or until your ab muscles are tired. Be sure to breathe throughout the exercise.

7.  Arm Stretches

Extend your right arm out in front of you, palm up. Grasp the fingers of your extended hand with your left hand and pull your hand back and down while lifting up your right arm. This will stretch out not only your forearm and bicep, but also your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds or until your muscle starts to ache slightly. Repeat the stretch for your other arm. 

8.  Leg Exercises

Take both hands and make fists and place them on the outside of your knees, with your feet flat on the floor. Use your leg muscles to push against your fists, and use your arm muscles to prevent your legs from moving outward. Hold the stretch for five seconds, pushing as hard as you can with your leg muscles. Relax, then move your fists to the inside of your knees and repeat, this time trying to push your legs together while creating resistance with your arms. The resistance will flex the muscles and tendons in your legs and help improve blood flow.

9.  Ankle Rolls

Simply raise on leg off the ground and point your toe forward. Using your big toe, draw all the letters of the alphabet as large as you can.

 10. Calf Raises

 Place both feet on the ground and raise your heels up so that your knees are elevated, without your toes leaving the ground. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat as many times as comfortable. You can do both legs at once or alternate. This is great for maintaining circulation.

Plane travel can be difficult if you are suffering currently from stiffness, aches or soreness in your joints. Give Pacific Chiropractic and Massage Therapy in Yaletown a call in advance of your trip so that we can make not only your trip but your vacation more enjoyable!

Can Posture Affect Your Breathing? Chiropractic care may help!

Poor posture can affect your ability to breathe!

The subject of posture is a big one, especially for Chiropractors these days. Although in my office, I see many patients for many different types of complaints, a significant portion can be directly attributed to not only poor posture in general, but specifically a forward head posture. Just walk into any coffee shop and you will see people lovingly gazing with their bloodshot eyes into the glare of their laptop screens, with a slumped forward posture. Laptops are the worst contributors to poor posture as they simply cannot accommodate a proper ergonomic position. It is quite common for people to spend as much as 10-12 hours per days in front of their computers.   Add in the time on their smart phones surfing, driving, and sitting on their couch and we have an epidemic of poor neck posture.

Can Posture Affect Your Breathing?

Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California states that forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity.

Poor posture invites distorted, restricted, shallow breathing. Just try this:  sit down and bend over and try to breathe in. Notice how it is harder to breathe. This is an extreme example of how our muscles and tendons get over restricted and cause a lessening of depth and ease in breathing. This also restricts your esophagus, phrenic nerves, aorta, trachea, brachiocephalic vein, but most importantly – breathing volume and ease. good posture is required for singers

Poor posture can shorten muscles, ligaments and create stiffness in joints and alter nerve function, which are all required for normal breathing. Your ability to take a full deep breathe can affect your performance in sports, your mental clarity, your sleep, your attitude, your digestion and organ function to name a few.

Have you ever noticed a singer’s posture? In order to hold those long notes, it requires very good posture for optimum lung function!

How Can I Breathe Easier?

Simply making yourself sit up straight or correct your posture is no easy task. In fact, forcing yourself can actually make it more difficult to breathe since your are fighting against all those shortened muscles and ligaments that have adapted over time to your poor posture. That’s why it can be difficult or uncomfortable to maintain good posture at first. Chiropractic care can help to ease the tension of these tissues and joints, making it easier to maintain and correct poor posture. However, good results take time.

Certain types of yoga and Pilates can help to improve your posture. Yoga training also emphasizes healthy breathing habits. I suggest that everyone start with a chiropractic check up to identify any areas of concern in your spine before starting yoga to make sure it is safe for you. Sometimes certain movements may not be good for you if certain problems are found.

If you feel that you cannot take a deep breath in, or feel that your posture can use some tuning up, schedule a chiropractic check up. We will examine your spine, and let you know how to best proceed so that you can be your healthiest YOU!

~ Dr. Gertz

 

Can Poor Posture Cause Arthritis?

Poor posture contributes to Arthritis

Posture, both good and bad, absolutely can have an impact on osteoarthritis.  How does bad posture affect osteoarthritis?  Chronic bad posture places abnormal chronic stresses on your body.  Normally, the muscles protect the bones and joints. However, these abnormal stresses make it harder for your muscles to take the pressure off your joints-and your joints end up paying the price.  For an easy example, consider your head and neck.

Your head weighs a little more than 10 pounds – or slightly more than a bowling ball.  Your neck is supporting your head 24 hours a day with only a brief rest when you lie down at night.  Even with perfect posture, this is a lot to ask of your neck!  Good neck posture mandates that your head rests directly above your neck. Poor neck posture typically consists of carrying your head somewhat forward in relation to your neck.  This places an increased stress on your neck.  A good analogy is carrying a bowling ball over your head.  Carrying the ball over your head is what your neck does with good posture.  Carrying the bowling ball 20 degrees in front of your head is a lot harder and your arm muscles will get more tired more quickly.

What happens with increased stress on your neck from poor posture?  The large muscles, and the smaller postural muscles, fatigue and the forces from your head and neck are translated through the small joints in your neck.  This can lead to a change in your normal alignment over time. When your spine is not in normal alignment, this leads to greater wear-and-tear of your joints and, potentially, earlier osteoarthritis. If your neck already has osteoarthritis, then the poor posture can worsen the pain.  It is the same with the other joints in your body. Poor posture (and poor alignment) increases the stresses they face, which increases the chances of them developing osteoarthritis.

If poor posture increases the risk of developing and/or worsening osteoarthritis, can good posture cure osteoarthritis?

Good posture may not cure osteoarthritis, but it will certainly help.  Just as poor posture places increasedPosture Bad stress on the joints in your body, good posture decreases those stresses.  Good anatomic posture allows your muscles to work most effectively to unload your joints, take the pressure off them, and allow them a chance to heal.

THINGS WORK BETTER WHEN YOU ARE IN PROPER ALIGNMENT.

Good posture does not happen overnight.  If you don’t already have good posture, realize that it takes steady, consistent attention and work.  But the work is well worth it! While it may be difficult at first to constantly remind yourself to improve your posture, eventually you will find that your body begins to return to its good posture naturally and without as much effort and attention as in the beginning. Also, it can be quite challenging to correct posture at first if you are not in proper alignment or if you have lost normal flexibility of your spine. Correcting your posture in conjunction with a program of regular chiropractic care can greatly assist with the process.

How important is posture really? The next few blogs will deal with how posture is connected to areas of your health you wouldn’t even realize, such as your mental state!

Stay tuned and stay healthy!

Dr. G

 

7 Things a Chiropractor Won’t Let His/Her Kids Do

Children with Poor PostureEvery day I walk into a treatment room at some point, and see a child sitting slumped over a tablet or smartphone, while their parent is lying diligently on the table waiting for his/her regular adjustment. Sometimes the obvious is right in front of us, and sooner or later the parent usually asks me to examine their child as well because their child is complaining of neck or back discomfort or exhibiting poor posture. While it is a great idea for kids to have a chiropractic examination at some point, preferably earlier than later, there are some good spinal hygiene habits that parents can watch for and teach their kids…and of course…lead by example themselves…

Here is the list in no particular order of importance…

1. “Pop” their neck/back.

This one is hopefully an obvious one. Although, if you have been letting your kids do it because you don’t feel it’s worth the fight, let me tell you it is. Please get them to stop now. It will only cause them trouble as they get older.

2. Sit with legs off to the side and hip diagonal

Poor Posture Children Chiropractic can helpSitting with legs to side is a no no. When you do this on a regular basis, it trains your hip bones to be in that position. And, because everything is connected, it can cause a domino effect and other spinal bones can misalign as well.

 

3. Sleep on stomach

When you sleep on your stomach, you are forcing your head to be turned for an extended period of time. It’s not meant to work that way. To prove it… right now… turn your head to the right or left and leave it there for 10 minutes. I guarantee when you turn it back straight, it will be a bit stiff. It may even be a little painful. When you do this all night long, you are setting yourself up for problems. Your neck is so important!

4. Play football Poor Posture Children Chiropractic can Help

Okay, fine… this is just MY rule. I will openly admit, not all chiropractors have this rule. I’m including it anyway, though, because I think it’s important to realize what we are doing to our kids bodies at such a young age. Their little spines are not made to be tackled and bashed around like they are when you are hit in a football game. (or hockey) Just something to think about…

5. Have head down looking at a screen (texting, playing ds, iPod, etc.)

You may already know this one… They have even come up with a “diagnosis” for what happens if you do it… “Text Neck”.

“For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.” – Kapandji, in Physiology of Joints Vol 3

This, of course, will put extra strain on the neck, change the nature alignment of the neck and will cause your child problems in the future.

6. Lie down with head propped up on side of couchPosture Children

No propping head up on couch. I understand that it’s comfortable. You lie on the couch and prop on your hand with your elbow on the couch. Or maybe your head is up on the arm of the couch. Either way, your neck is bent in a way it is not meant to bend. At least not for the entire length of a television show.

7. Wear a backpack on their back with only one strap or carrying a backpack that is too heavy.

When your child carries their backpack on one shoulder instead of using both straps to carry it on both shoulders, it is causing them to put their bodies in unnatural positions that can lead to problems. If they have a backpack on one shoulder, they will naturally, whether they realize it or not, compensate by bringing the other shoulder up. This causes a positioning that will tweak the spine. Doing this every day will lead the spine to shift, which can lead to health problems.

The same concept applies to a backpack that is too heavy. Even if the backpack is being carried using both shoulders, if it is too heavy it will cause the child to stand in a position in which he is not meant to stand. The backpack pulls the child back with its weight, and so the child will lean forward to compensate, causing an unnatural compression/contortion of the spine.

So, really, why is all of this such a big deal?

One of our main jobs as a parent is to keep our kids safe, right? Well, shouldn’t that also include making sure they do what needs to be done now to be healthy adults?

Isn’t that why we have them brush their teeth every day? So they don’t have rotten teeth as adults?

The same goes for all these tips. If we want our kids to grow up to be healthy adults, these tips will help them along in that journey.

Of course, doing only these things will not create an adult with no problems. They still should get checked regularly by a chiropractor, go to their dentist, eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest and so on.

I do hope these tips help you help your kids grow up to be healthy adults!

 

Source:

somecallitnatural.com

How Sitting is the New Smoking

Break Up with your sitting with some walking!

There’s no sugar-coating it: North Americans sit a lot, especially if you reside in a tech-savvy area of Vancouver like Yaletown. Two-thirds of the North American workforce sits for all or part of their workday.1 When you don’t adjust your posture frequently enough, you’re more likely to experience discomfort while sitting–and you’re inviting a whole host of other musculoskeletal problems along with it.1

Today, on average, sitting takes up more than half of an adult’s waking hours.2 What’s worse is that, according to Mayo Clinic cardiologist Martha Grogan, “for people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”3 Based on current trends, researchers predict the number of hours we spend sedentary will likely increase.2

There are other health risks that come from being more sedentary: prolonged time spent while sitting or reclining can tamper with your glucose levels and your metabolism.4 It’s also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.4 The good news is that if you break up those long periods of sitting, you can reduce your risk of having diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.4

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada5 recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity–such as brisk walking or bike riding–at least five days out of the week. If you work Monday to Friday, consider adding a few steps to your commute, or taking two 15 minute walk breaks each workday.

Here are some more helpful tips to help break up your sitting time6,7:

  • Create a schedule to remind you to stand up and move. Programming your day can help you stick to something you may otherwise forget to do. A good goal is 5-10 minutes of activity per hour. For example, if you have a job that involves sitting most of the day, plan to spend five minutes every hour up from your chair and moving around the office (like getting coffee, walking around the building, or taking a restroom break) and spend the other five minutes doing stretches.
  • Walk around on your lunch break. Invite coworkers from your office to go for a walk with you at lunch. You can check out a nearby park or take a new route around the neighbourhood.
  • Park further away and walk. Whether you’re running errands or parking at work, you can choose to park further away and walk those extra few steps to your destination.
  • Walk around the house while talking on the phone or during commercial breaks of your favourite show. You might find other opportunities throughout the day too!

Little changes can go a long way to improve your posture and decrease a number of health risks. Whatever method you choose, you can also use the Straighten Up Canada app and Fit-in 15 program to find small exercises you can do during the day. Of course, regular check ups with your chiropractic at Pacific Chiropractic can help reduce the chances of stiffness, misalignments or even nerve pressure from building up…at least, that’s what our patients tell us!

References

  1. Fenety A, Walker JM. Short-term effects of workstation exercises on musculoskeletal discomfort and postural changes in seated video display unit workers. J Am Phys Ther Assoc. 2002; 82(6): 578-89.
  2. Healy GN, Eakin EG, Owen N, et al. A cluster randomized controlled trial to reduce office workers’ sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016; 48(9): 1787-97. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000972.
  3. Winslow, R. The guide to beating a heart attack: first line defense is lowering risk, even when genetics isn’t on your side. The Wall Street Journal. April 16, 2012. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304818404577347982400815676. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  4. Benatti FB, Ried-Larsen M. The effects of breaking up prolonged sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015; 47(10): 2053-61. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000654.
  5. Stay active. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. Available at: http://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active#How-much-activity-do-I-need. Accessed November 22, 2016.
  6. Storrs C. Stand up, sit less and move more, researchers say; here’s how to do it. CNN. August 6, 2015. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/06/health/how-to-move-more/. Accessed October 14, 2016.
  7. Sit less. The Heart Foundation. Available at: https://heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/sit-less. Accessed October 14, 2016.

(From JCCA e-toc)

Setting Health Goals and Your Success in 2017

An excerpt from The Power of Discipline 
by Brian Tracy

Your ability to discipline yourself to set clear goals, and then to work toward them every day, will do more to guarantee your success than any other single factor.

It seems that only 3% of adults have written goals and plans, and they earn more than the other 97% put together.

Why is this? The simplest answer is that, if you have a clear goal and a plan to achieve it, your focus is fixed on a set course of action. Instead of becoming sidetracked by distractions and diversions, your time is focused on a straight line from start to finish. This is why people with goals accomplish so much more than people without them.

The tragedy is that everyone thinks they already have goals. But what they really have are hopes and wishes.

A wish has been defined as a “goal with no energy behind it.” Hope is not a strategy.

Goals that are not written down and developed into plans are like bullets without powder in the cartridge. People with unwritten goals go through life shooting blanks. Because they think they already have goals, they never engage in the hard, disciplined effort of goal setting, the master skill of success.

USA Today reported on a study a couple of years ago. First, researchers selected people who made New Year’s resolutions. Then they divided these people into two categories: those who made New Year’s resolutions and wrote them down, and those who made New Year’s resolutions, but neglected to write them down.

Twelve months later, they followed up on the respondents in this study. What they found was astonishing! Of the people who made New Year’s resolutions but neglected to write them down, only 4% actually followed through on their resolutions.

However, among the group that took a few minutes to record their New Year’s resolutions, 44% followed through on them. This difference of more than 1100% proves the simple act of crystallizing resolutions or goals on paper increases likelihood of success.

In my experience (Brian Tracey) of working with several million people over the past twenty-five years, the disciplined act of setting goals, making plans for their accomplishments, and then working on them daily, increases the likelihood of achieving your goals by ten times, or 1000%.

This does not mean that goal setting guarantees success, only that it increases the probabilities of success by ten times. These are very good odds to have working in your favor.

———————————————–

As you ponder your goals and objectives for 2017, keep in mind a “category” for health.  When we think about goals, we may often set multiple categories to envision our future achievements such as financial, relationships, career, etc. However, keep in mind that none of these things mean anything without your health. What do you want to achieve with regards to your health for 2017? What changes will you make? Nutrition? Exercise? Overcoming a health challenge? Or simply making sure you are in optimum health in order to support and achieve your other goals? Do you want to be healthy OR just not be sick? (proactive vs reactive) How are you going to achieve this and what methods will you use to help improve and maintain your health? I would encourage everyone to remember that “things in your life work better when you’re in proper alignment” and “it’s easier to keep you well than to get you well”.  So, consider alignment, good posture and prevention as part of your list.

What ever and how ever you decide to think about your health, remember, at Pacific Chiropractic and Massage Therapy, we are always here to assist you in the best way that you decide. We always welcome your questions and we are here to assist you to achieve your health goals. As we start this new year, I would challenge you to examine your health habits, and shift your energy towards making proactive, preventative health decisions – write them down and review them periodically. Make this year the one where YOU took charge as opposed to reacting to a crisis!

Best wishes in 2017,

 Dr. G

How to Keep a Healthy Immune System and Beat the Flu and Cold Season

The cold and flu season is definitely upon us and some of us have already succumbed to becoming ill. Some of us have not become ill. What is the difference? Why do some of people get sick while others do not? Keep in mind that a lot of these cold and flu viruses are around us all the time. It isn’t that these opportunistic pathogens magically appear at certain times of the year—they’re always around. It’s your ability to respond to them that changes with the seasons.When we get sick, it is more likely the result of your immune system being suppressed and not being able to fight off the bug adequately, and allowing the bug to get a “foothold”. What keeps us from getting sick is a strong immune system. I was asked by a patient the other day what kind of immune pill he should take to boost his immune system. I’m sure you have all seen the ads, especially this time of year. The better strategy to ask would be “what is taxing my immune system, and what things do I need to do to keep it strong?”  Here are a few tips that are shown by solid research to keep your immune system strong.

1. Maintain proper Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. It is estimated that 85% of the general public is deficient in vitamin D in the winter. Why? The primary source of vitamin D is through adequate sun exposure. As a very general guide, you need to expose about 40 percent of your entire body for approximately 20 minutes to the sun, between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. This is because the rays of the sun need to have sufficient intensity which is achieved only at a certain angle to start the vitamin D synthesis in your skin. As a rule of thumb, if you stand in the sun and look at your shadow and your shadow is longer than you are, the angle of the sun is too low to give you adequate exposure to UVB rays. If your shadow is shorter than you are, then you are getting the appropriate exposure. The true angle of the sun needs to be above 50 degrees.

Since achieving enough sun exposure is nearly impossible this time of year, supplementation with a high quality Vitamin D supplement is necessary. To really know if you are maintaining adequate vitamin D levels, a simple blood test to measure for 25-hydroxy-vitamin D can be performed to determine your blood concentrations. The 25-hydroxy-vitamin D test can be obtained through your family physician or we can recommend a naturopathic doctor that can perform the test.

To find out more about vitamin D read:  http://www.thebackdoc.ca/2013/10/vitamin-d-the-sunshine-vitamin-are-you-getting-enough/

2. Avoid Sugar. Sugar is particularly damaging to your immune system–which needs to be ramped up, not suppressed, in order to combat an emerging infection. Consuming too much sugar suppresses immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria. Even consuming just 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about the same as in two 12-ounce sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria. This effect is seen for at least a few hours after consuming a sugary drink. Your body treats white flour products such as most breads, pasta, and white rice essentially the same as sugar.

3. Get proper sleep. Pay attention to how you are sleeping. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or enough restorative sleep, you’ll be at increased risk for a hostile viral takeover. Fatigue increases your susceptibility to illness – you may have noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold or other infection when you’re not getting enough sleep. A lab experiment bears this out: When students at the University of Chicago were limited to only four hours of sleep a night for six nights and then given a flu vaccine, their immune systems produced only half the normal number of antibodies. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how sleep boosts the immune system, it’s clear that getting adequate amounts – usually 7 to 9 hours for an adult – is essential to good health.

4. Drink lots of fluids. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fresh, pure water. Water is essential for the optimal function of every system in your body.Avoid sodas, and drinks with artificial sugars.

5. Eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, preferably raw. There is little that compares to the nutritional value of raw vegetables.  In addition to the B-vitamin folic acid, fresh vegetables have numerous other nutrients that will promote health and prevent diseases.  And while you`re getting all rich vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, and therefore reducing your risk of many types of cancers, degenerative diseases and cardiovascular disease, you are also filling yourself up and reducing your appetite for those tempting bad food choices.  JUICE! If you have a juicer, pull it out of the cupboard and start using it especially if you are finding it challenging to consume the recommended amount of raw vegetables.

6.  Reduce your alcohol consumption.  Alcohol consumption can reduce certain white blood cells which are responsible for fighting viruses, by 75%!!!  So cut out or dramatically reduce alcohol consumption this time of year. Researchers from the school of Medicine of the University of Massachusetts exposed white blood cells – the protagonists in the defense of the body against infections – chemicals that simulated bacteria and viruses. Half of these cells were introduced alcohol at levels proportional to those who would have a person who drinks around 28 weekly drinks.

The behavior of both groups of WBCs, emphasizing its capacity to react to viral attacks was then analyzed. And the scientists confirmed that the group that had this alcohol responded with only 25% of efficiency in comparison to the other segment, those cells were not influenced by the presence of alcohol.

7. Exercise!  There are some things that seem to protect us from catching colds and the flu. One of those things appears to be moderate, consistent exercise. Research continues to support a link between moderate, regular exercise and a healthy immune system. Early studies found that recreational exercisers reported fewer colds once they began running regularly. Moderate exercise has been linked to a positive immune system response and a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long-term.

More recent studies have shown that there are physiological changes in the immune system as a response to exercise. During moderate exercise immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. After exercise ends, the immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours, but consistent, regular exercise seems to make these changes a bit more long-lasting.

According to professor David Nieman, Dr. PH., of Appalachian State University, when moderate exercise is repeated on a near-daily basis there is a cumulative effect that leads to a long-term immune response. His research showed that those who walk at 70-75 percent of their VO2 Max for 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds or sore throats as those who don’t exercise.

8. Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is avoid apply avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Also, our own “good” bacteria in our gut is constantly under attack by chemicals we ingest such as anti-bacterial soap residue, pesticide residue, chlorine in our drinking water, mouthwash, and past antibiotic use, we need to be constantly replenishing them. One of the easiest ways is to take a daily probiotic supplement.

9. Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands frequently will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Keep your hands away from your face!

10. Reduce Psychological Stress. It’s not only physical stress that increases the release of cortisol and adrenaline. Estimates have placed stress-related problems as the cause of 75 percent to 90 percent of all primary care physician visits. Psychological stress can also impair immunity and lead to an increase of cold and flu infections. Researchers at Ohio State followed people who had the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and found that they experienced twice as many colds as non-caregivers.

11. Reduce your physical stress. Research shows that physical stressors like poor posture and vertebral subluxation complex also increase stress hormones which can down regulate immune function. Research also shows that getting chiropractic adjustments can lower stress hormone levels and increase immune function! GET ADJUSTED!

You must address nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress issues the moment you first feel yourself getting a bug and preferably, of course, before! This is when immune-enhancing strategies will be most effective. At this time you can also try some additional therapies or supplements:

1.  Echinacea

2.  Garlic: an antimicrobial that kills bacteria, viruses AND fungi

3.  Vitamin C: antioxidant properties

4.   Zinc

5.  Propolis: A bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world; propolis is also the richest source of caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important compounds that aid in immune response

Remember, the best strategy is always prevention. So think ahead during the festive season and if you plan to celebrate, make sure you give yourself adequate recovery time to do some nice things for your body as well.

Dr. G

Are You a Sitting Duck? Proper Ergonomics for Your Work Station

ergonomicsThere are four areas that a computer user interfaces with: the monitor, the keyboard and mouse, the chair, and the lighting of the environment. Setting up these interfaces with good ergonomics and guidelines as well as maintaining a good posture will enhance your comfort and efficiency as well as prevent repetitive stress injuries.

The Monitor

Position the monitor to minimize glare by placing it at a right angle to light sources or windows

Place the monitor as far away from you as possible while maintaining the ability to read without consciously focusing. Keep a minimum distance of 20 inches.

Place the center of the screen at a 15 degree down angle from your eyes with your neck only slightly bent holding your head perpendicular to the floor. The top of the monitor should be roughly equal height to your forehead.

The Keyboard

  • Position the  keyboard slightly below the elbow and at a negative angle to allow the wrists to remain straight when you sit in a slightly reclined postureProper Wrist Position
  • Do NOT use a wrist rest while actively typing. It’s meant to rest on not to lean on when working. Hold your hands and arms off of any supports while typing.
  • Do NOT use the keyboard supports to raise the back up. Do NOT tilt the keyboard tray so that the back of the keyboard is higher than the front. Though design and a lot of prevailing information say you should tilt the keyboard to a positive angle like this, it is wrong. A negative angle that allows the wrists to stay in their natural wrist position is better. A positive angle is a repetitive stress injury waiting to happen.

The Mouse

  • Place the mouse on the same level as and immediately next to the keyboard tray.
  • Keep the mouse in the arc line of the keyboard so that you can reach it when rotating your arm from the elbow.Proper wrist position
  • Do NOT use a wrist rest while using the mouse. Your forearm needs to be free to move so  you do not strain the wrist.
  • If your keyboard has a number pad, consider switching to use the mouse with your left hand.  This will keep your elbow and wrist closer in line with your body and reduce strain on your shoulder muscles.

The Chair

  • Use arm rests.
  • Place the lumbar support slightly below the waist line.
  • Adjust the height of the chair so your feet can rest completely on the floor.Proper Chair position
  • Allow 1-3 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees.
  • Use a high back chair that supports your shoulder blades if at all possible

Lighting

  • The office should be moderately bright (20-50 foot candles or equal to a nice day where sunglasses aren’t needed).
  • Do not use task lighting for computer work.

Dr Gertz can offer specific advice for your personal ergonomic needs. He also can perform an onsite evaluation for you or others in your company. Please contact him for further information.

If someone you know is suffering from the results of poor work ergonomics needlessly, start with calling our office to schedule yourself, or someone you know in for a check up appointment to see what treatment options are available to you.